Sardinops sagax (Jenyns, 1842)
South American pilchard
photo by SeaFIC

Family:  Clupeidae (Herrings, shads, sardines, menhadens), subfamily: Alosinae
Max. size:  39.5 cm SL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 486.0 g; max. reported age: 25 years
Environment:  pelagic-neritic; marine; depth range 0 - 200 m, oceanodromous
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: southern Africa to eastern Pacific (Ref. 27267). Three lineages were confirmed through cluster and parsimony analyses of haplotypic divergences: southern Africa (ocellatus) and Australia (neopilchardus); Chile (sagax) and California (caeruleus); and, Japan (melanostictus) (Ref. 36641).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0-0; Anal soft rays: 12-23; Vertebrae: 48-54. Body cylindrical and elongate; ventral part of operculum with clear cut bony striae radiating downwards; belly rounded with ventral scutes; back blue green; flanks white, with 1 to 3 series of dark spots along the middle (Ref. 55763). The radiating bony striae on the operculum distinguish this species from all other clupeids in the area. The radiating bony striae on the operculum distinguish this fish from all other clupeids in the area. In New Zealand the species appears to grow larger (21.3 cm standard length; cf. 19.7 cm), has slightly larger eggs and a higher mean number of vertebrae (50.52; cf. 49 to 50.08 in various samples) (Ref. 859).
Biology:  Neritic (Ref. 11230). A coastal species that forms large schools (Ref. 188). Occur at temperatures ranging from 16° to 23°C in summer and from 10° to 18°C in winter. Feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans. Young fish feed on zooplankton such as copepod and adults on phytoplankton (Ref. 39882). Oviparous, with pelagic eggs, and pelagic larvae (Ref. 265). Possibly can live up to 25 years (Ref. 265). In the California region, pilchards make northward migrations early in summer and travel back south again in autumn. With each year of life, the migration becomes farther (Ref. 6885). Marketed fresh, frozen or canned. Utilized mainly for fish meal; but also eaten fried and broiled (Ref. 9988). Main source of landing: NE Pacific: Mexico (Ref. 4931).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 18 July 2018 Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Bailly, Nicolas - 15.07.13
Checked by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 30.05.03

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